Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Cart on Over for Noodles!

Noodle Cart
1018 Blanshard St.
Victoria, B.C.
(250) 477-3883

E: For once, James did not lead me astray from finding good food. When he said, "Let's go to the Noodle Cart," I had visions of an operation similar to The Noodle Box, which I don't care much for these days. Well, when considering this operation is run by a franchise operation Little Thai, I did have some reservations.

J: I've had previous experience with the Noodle Cart. A quest to grab some eats before a concert at Christ Church Cathedral lead me to sample their food. I was floored. I knew then this place needed reviewing. I don't care if it's a franchise, at least it appears to be a local franchise. The decor of this place is amazing. I would love to know who did all the artistry for this establishment.



E: And some of that is evident in some of the dishes offered. I loved the heavy cilantro taste in the vinaigrette that comes with the jungle roll. I was a happy little monkey while nibbling this oversized morsel. The rice paper and lettuce made for an interesting combination, and the pork was roasted just right to make me squeal with delight. I even took spoonfuls of the sauce on its own because it was just that good.

J: The jungle roll was made with what tasted like fresh ingredients. The sauce itself was sublime. I thought the jungle rolls expensive for their price but after the first bite, I changed my mind. I really wanted to test this place so I ordered the same thing from my first visit, Thai roasted red pork and crispy pork on rice ($11). It comes with a Thai clear soup with cilantro and green onions (mine was missing the green onions). One could describe it as nourishing.As much as I love miso soup, I love this as equally.

E: The two types of pork is nothing new to a Chinese boy like me. The origins of siu yuk (燒肉) may well be a southern Asian staple that has spread down south to Thailand, so I had to taste a piece to compare.

I will have to say the presentation and style of cooking is far more cleaner and crispier in both look and taste. The meat is far less greasier, and better textured. Either the store in Chinatown where I can get this on any day of the week have gotten lazy in how they fry up the pig or The Noodle Cart takes better care in crisping up the skin.

J: Definitely a winner. I love how one bites into a crispy pork and the delicious bit of fat just beyond the barrier. Bliss! And the rice they steamed to near perfection, it went well with my pork and red bean sauce. But while I stayed modest Ed took steps towards excess with his seafood tamarind ($18).

E: I enjoyed the bevy of flavours which included freshly cut mango cubes sprinkled over the deep fried rock cod and jumbo sized shrimp. To have it mixed up with some nicely made sticky rice, I ate more and spoke less when everything arrived in reverse order for me to sample. That didn't bother me, since the waitress came by to let me know that they were out of crispy pork, and there was not enough to make a full dish. I appreciated that level of service.

J: Yes, the crispy pork all went to me but Ed got me back when I was ordering desserts only to learn the remaining mango was used for his order. Stalemate. But before we ordered I was munching away on the deep friend taro root. I swear if taro can be made into fry form on a regular basis I'm giving up the potato because the taro root had a more substantial taste.

E: And it's softer taste made for a fascinating chew. I wouldn't say it's toffee-like, but that's the description I'd use to describe its texture. And to have it slathered in plum sauce with crushed peanuts made me think of nirvana.

The carrots and crunchy onion certainly made for a great complement to the fried roti-style bread. The shell was mostly hard but there were parts where it was satisfyingly soft. The only unfortunate aspect of this meal was that I thought too much tamarind sauce was used. It's strong tartness started to get to me after several bites.

J: But it was no matter with the mangos. I had forgotten the incident when our server suggested we try not one but two different scoops of ice cream. Our choices were mango and coconut. I thanked her calmly but inside I was excited. So far this place was living far past it's expectations in food, service and ambiance, I could only wonder what the ice cream would taste like. About 5 minutes and one apology later (I wasn't bothered, it gave us time to read a handful of geek related magazines) our ice cream arrived.

E: And James raved about how excellent the Island Farms product was like he never had it before. Either this company knew that they had to make a better product to satisfy the customer especially for the exotic fruit line or James' tastebuds forgot what certain blends tastes like. I thought it was good too, but I don't go nuts about wanting to buy 'em. I tried their green tea blend a while back and hated it. The intensity of the flavours was just all wrong.

4 Blokes out of 5

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